Archive | March, 2014

Disgruntled

31 Mar

Yesterday was Mothering Sunday in Britain.  

It was also the day the clocks went forward.

The one day a year a mother gets an extra hour in bed and it’s stolen from her by British Summer Time?

The calendar is clearly compiled by a man.

A Tale Of Two Parents

25 Mar

The Hub wears a new t-shirt to the play and is ‘awesome’, ‘best dad ever’, admired by all of Spud’s friends.

I pay a teacher a compliment and I’m banned from ever speaking to anyone Spud ever knows for the rest of his life, ever.

Here’s the Hub’s shirt:

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Here’s my compliment to Godspell’s choreographer:

Wow!  Spud told me the dancing was really naff but I think it’s great!

I don’t understand Spud at all.

Donate Your Hair To Children With Cancer

22 Mar

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If you have long hair like mine was, and decide to cut it, you can send it off to a charity in the UK called Little Princess.  They make wigs for children who have lost their hair through cancer.  A quick Google search found similar charities in other countries.  Please think about doing it if you’re going short; you need a minimum of 7″/17cm and all it costs is a padded envelope and postage.

My hair was long but thin, so my plait was pretty feeble; but every little helps.

When the Hub posted it off, the clerk asked if there was anything valuable in the packet.  The Hub explained what was in it and she winked and said, Aw, that’s nice.  Are you going to do the same with your beard?

I think he should; I heard their office needs re-wiring.

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I Cried Yesterday

19 Mar

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Actually, I cried the day before yesterday but I wrote this post yesterday so the title was correct for yesterday’s yesterday but not for today.  Anyway, me crying at all except at the end of Love Actually is such a rare event, I felt I had to blog about it.

As you must know, because I’ve bored you to death about it for months now, Spud is playing Judas in his school production of Godspell.  The first night is tomorrow tonight.  I can’t get the songs out of my head and as I was preparing his sandwiches for tonight’s tea between tweaking-rehearsal and performance, I sang Beautiful City to myself.  I suspected I might be allowing it to take over my life when I came to the line, We can build a city of man and sang, We can build a city of ham…

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Yesterday (‘s yesterday) was the dress rehearsal.  The Hub is an excellent photographer and took some great pics of the last three school productions Spud starred in (no bias here, honest).  He gave them to Spud’s drama teacher and she loved them and asked if he would go along to yesterday’s yesterday’s dress rehearsal to take photos of this production.

The Hub has M.E. so of course he needed his loving and supportive wife along to hold the spare camera batteries.  The fact that I got a sneak preview of the show was purely coincidental.

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We had front row seats and we needed them, because my heart swelled with so much pride it took up all of the space between the audience and the stage.

I know he’s my son and I’m biased and all that rubbish, but Spud was fantastic.  He began as a happy, hopeful man and changed over two hours to anger and betrayal via confusion and doubt.  

He sang, with music and without.

He cried in Jesus’ arms the moment before he left to betray him.  He sobbed on the floor after the crucifixion.  

He was totally believable.

IMG_5205smallTeachers made a point of coming up to tell me how good he was and how he should pursue acting as a career.  But better than that, the director told me that, for all of his talent, he is a lovely, lovely boy and she hopes her own son will grow up to be just like him.

Can you blame me for blubbing?

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Googling Myself

12 Mar

It’s not that I’m vain, or anything, but I do occasionally Google my name (okay, I am vain; but can you blame me with this hair?).  At least I don’t check to see if I’ve got a Wikipedia page – no, really, I don’t, honest…

I have to Goggle myself when I’m submitting poems, because so many editors exclude poems already published online, even if it was on my now defunct poetry blogs which can no longer be accessed.

I Gaggled four poems and my name this morning and I was disappointed to find one of them in the 2010 comments section of a poetry blog, which means I can’t use it.  

The Haggle brought up a pleasant surprise, however – which isn’t always a given when you Giggle yourself; all I’m going to say is tea bags/washing line/shame…. Fortunately, I’m such a prolific blogger that the embarrassing photo is hidden way down in my Boggle listing.  

I discovered that a poem published by English Pen last year in their Dictionary of Made-Up Words was featured on their website earlier this year, as part of an ongoing promotion of the book.  I didn’t know it was there.  I’m chuffed!

Even better – it was retweeted!  It’s nice to be twit.

You may say it was coincidence, but I think it’s strange that I didn’t come across this poem until I had my hair cut.  I’m like an anti-Samson: all of my power was consumed by my long hair; now it’s short, I’m discovering my work in the ether and being invited to take part in poetry events which may or may not come off so I can’t say anything at the moment…except that the invites were issued after the haircut…

So, do you Wriggle yourself?  Or are you afraid to discover dirty little secrets of yours hiding out there in the ether?  Are there photos of you drunk at a party? Taking an illicit beach day from work?  Wearing flares?

I’ll find out, you know, when I Ogle you.

Short Cut

11 Mar

This was me last Friday morning:

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Me as Captain Caveman:

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This was me on Friday afternoon:

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What do you think?

Hoo-Ray!

10 Mar

So glad to see Ray Quinn win the last-ever Dancing On Ice.  Incredible to think he’s an amateur.  Here’s his Bolero:

My favourite skate:

His solo skate:

What am I going to do now DOI has finished forever?  Sad face.

I guess I’ll have to watch Strictly.  Sadder face.

Never Forget The Prompts

6 Mar

Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

It wasn’t eavesdropping so much as my first ten minutes in a new job in Johannesburg.  A secretary walked into the office in great distress, crying her eyes out and complaining that ‘he threw my elephant ears off the balcony!’

Hillbrow flats are small and their balconies are tiny and I wasn’t interested in the argument – instead, I was consumed with a desire to know  what exactly were elephant ears?  If they were ornamental elephant ears, how huge were they?  Did he have to use a tool to tip them over or was he so adrenalin/drink/rage fuelled that it was like a mother lifting a car from her child’s pinned-down body?

Or were they genuine elephant ears?  If they were, they’d still be pretty big but surely they’d have shrivelled to mankiness; and where would you buy something like that anyway?  You could buy legal ivory because elephants weren’t protected in South Africa in the Eighties but I never heard of anyone buying wrinkly skin flaps before.

I felt quite sorry for her distress and empathised with her experience of that terrible creature known as ‘man’, but I was cripplingly shy in those days, kept my head down and never stuck my nose in where it wasn’t wanted.  I went all day without knowing what the argument was about but, finally, at 16:29, one minute before leaving, I had to ask: what on earth are elephant ears?

She laughed and replied, ‘A plant.’

How mundane.  Eavesdropping: it’s really not worth the ear-burning it causes.

*

Tell us about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed. Be sure to describe your situation in full detail. Tell us all about your triumph in all its glory.

I really hoped those ears were real.

That was back in the days when I wasn’t animal-mad; or unselfish (no kids yet).

I triumphed because I plucked up the courage – in the face of twenty-four years of terror at the thought of asking questions of a complete stranger, especially about her personal life – to satisfy my curiosity.

*

A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.

Nellie the Elephant…some of you may have heard of it.  I’m transported to church at half-past seven in the evening and the recollection that I forgot to tell you that I’d had a spicy dinner that day and had to clench my butt cheeks the whole time I was on my knees practising CPR, in case the evidence seeped out.

Don’t mock: I could save your life one day.

*

You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory.

I can’t remember it.  I’m not an elephant.

*

What giant step did you take where you hoped your leg wouldn’t break? Was it worth it, were you successful in walking on the moon, or did your leg break?

You never take giant steps when you have a wind problem like mine.

*

When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment? 

Did you not read my last answer?  How easily embarrassed do you think I am?

Okay, you’re right: I am very easily embarrassed in real life; blogging is fairly anonymous so it removes my inhibitions.  If I were to break wind in your physical presence, I think I’d be embarrassed beyond measure.  We both would.

*

Publish a post in the style of a favorite author/blogger or photographer.

A nonsense poem for you, written in five minutes, as an homage to Ogden Nash, Roger McGough and the city of Chicago.

In Praise of Gas 

There’s an art to the fart, I’m sure
(just follow a wild beast’s spoor).
But if a pump makes you jump
stay away from the elephant’s trump.

He who has gas laughs last (and usually alone).
He capers at vapours and gels with smells;
but he secretly prays there’s no belligerence
caused by his intense flatulence –

he feels embarrassment
but masks it with merriment
and expensive,
frequently sprayed scent.

Apologies to my audience:
I feel I ought to rescind my words about wind –
I suspect I am less sinned against,
than I have sinned.

More On Doors

5 Mar

I remember another time a doorway exchange caused some confusion.

We were living in South Africa and we had a dog who had given birth to five puppies but who had no interest in caring for them.  She escaped at every opportunity and the Hub was at his wits’ end (admittedly, he didn’t have far to go), trying to persuade her to feed her pups.  

One warm Saturday morning (so, any Saturday morning; this was South Africa), Scamp sneaked out again and the Hub, watering the garden, spotted her doing her snake impression across the kitchen threshold.

We had new neighbours.  Their first impression of the kind of people we are – misogynistic husband; downtrodden wife – came when next door’s wife heard my husband scream, ‘Get in the house and look after your babies, you stupid b****.’

Guests

3 Mar

I thought Toby was scratching at my door at his usual five a.m. the other night. He never wants to go out; he wants to remind me that his breakfast is due in two hours and forty-five minutes.  I am never allowed to forget it: he will growl at me several or fourteen times between then and quarter-to-eight.

It wasn’t Toby; it was Spud, trying to slip a note under my door; and it wasn’t five; it was sometime after one.  He came in, as I was now awake, for spare bedding.  He said ‘Excuse me’ but I was half asleep and didn’t register until he knocked me over, having expected me to move.

The note was to explain, in case I woke up in the night and wandered around in confusion, that two of his friends had phoned at one a.m. to beg a bed.  They had been to a party which Spud had decided not to attend because of travel difficulties (three buses there; three buses back) and, because they live several towns over, had nowhere to sleep once they were kicked out.

We are not the sort of people to see teenagers on the streets, so of course the Hub had said ‘yes’.  Besides, they are both in Godspell, with Sam playing Jesus.   We want it to be a success and a destitute lead is not in the remit.

Spud was given his instructions by the Hub and, when the boys arrived some time after two, Spud opened the door and declared: ‘Sorry.  There’s no room at the inn.’

We might be kind but we will have fun at your expense.

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